About two and a half years ago, in the thick of the stadium debate, I wrote a column about the gross ways in which sexual and relationship references were making their way into the discussion. This was when the idea of a joint Chargers/Raiders stadium was being floated, and the U-T’s Kevin Acee wrote that the Chargers were “in bed in Los Angeles with a silver and black whore.”
It’s still gross, but the longer this endless loop drags on, the more I think the relationship metaphor was maybe right all along.
That’s because San Diego is still so deeply entrenched in the denial phase it’s embarrassing itself in the same desperate way someone at a party drones on about an ex as everyone politely nods and looks for an excuse to exit the conversation. Even worse, this week the city managed to take two actual disasters and find a way to make each one about the Chargers.
After a couple weeks in which it looked as if city and county officials were finally kicking into gear to address the hepatitis A outbreak with the gravity and urgency it deserves, things quickly devolved into stadium bickering. The county, defending itself from charges that it was willing to spend money on a stadium but not to do more to combat homelessness and public health, weirdly admitted that it had been deceiving everyone on the stadium issue.
Then, San Diego found a way to insert itself into the devastating Northern California wildfires when Mayor Kevin Faulconer suggested that the Chargers-Raiders game could be played here in the event that the game must be relocated. Generous, sure, but also a little creepy.
San Diego, girl, you need to lose the Chargers’ number for good.
What VOSD Learned This Week
A few years back we had fun creating a Beef Week, in which we wrote a series of stories explaining the biggest local rivalries.
This week, San Diego went and revived Beef Week on its own.
The city and county, for example, are feuding over the response to the Hepatitis A outbreak. City officials think the county should foot a bigger chunk of the bill. That led, as all roads do, to the Chargers stadium. In defending how the county spends its money, County Supervisor Ron Roberts revealed that his offer to help fund a Chargers stadium was totally insincere.
Back during the original Beef Week, we chronicled the San Diego County Water Authority’s long beef with the Metropolitan Water District. It’s still going strong – so strong that it’s even spawned a mini beef in the Water Authority’s backyard.
Two of the most powerful San Diego law enforcement officials, meanwhile, called each other out over how the city handles rape kits, which contain evidence collected from victims of sexual assault. City Attorney Mara Elliott thinks San Diego should join other cities in committing to test each kit; Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman maintains the department’s preference of only testing certain kits is working fine.
For months, leaders of smaller cities in the county have had beef with Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, who wrote a bill to overhaul SANDAG, including by shifting power to bigger cities. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill this week.
That and another bill signing by Brown this week represent victories by local Democrats, who’ve been beefing with Republicans for years about how and when San Diego elections should be conducted.
There’s even a beef at the heart of the new episode of “I Made it in San Diego”: A rift among the family who created Bitchin’ Sauce led to the creation of a new food company.
We broke down the hottest beeves (yes, I choose to believe that is the plural of beef) on this week’s podcast.
In non-beef news:
• We made a cool interactive schools map! It lets you see detailed info about schools throughout the county, including whether their test scores are improving, what special programs they offer and more.
• Family courts no longer provide court reporters to document what happens in court proceedings, which lawyers worry creates a two-tiered system of justice for those who can pay reporters out of pocket and those who can’t.
What I’m Reading
• The Miami Herald released a stunning series on gross abuses within Florida’s juvenile justice system, including prisoners being ordered to fight each other to death.
• ICE has detained 525 pregnant women in the last year, seemingly against its own policies, including a pregnant rape victim who was held for six months. (Texas Observer)
• Most of what I’ve been reading this week has been, of course, about the Harvey Weinstein scandal, including the New Yorker’s bombshell.
• New Yorker writer Jia Tolento followed up with this fantastic essay about “the deadening calculus” women must grapple with after they’ve encountered harassment or abuse.
• Other must-reads include Anne Helen Peterson on why so many women knew about Weinstein and why men tend to deride celebrity gossip. (Buzzfeed)
• While this reporter was in Las Vegas reporting on the aftermath of the mass shooting, his family and friends at home were grappling with the loss of one of the victims. (New York Times)
Line of the Week
“When you tell me you’re shocked, what I hear is: ‘I have chosen to forget all the other stories I’ve heard about this from women.’ Or, perhaps: ‘I have chosen not to actually listen to any of the women who have told me these stories.’ Or, perhaps you’re the creep, and you’re simply shocked that one of your own got caught.” — From an excellent essay imploring men to stop being shocked by the endless stream of stories about harassment and abuse of women.